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For Many Designers, Homelessness Is A Trend

Fashion
Photo via N. Hoolywood's Instagram

This is a big no

It wouldn't be a New York Fashion Week without a controversy, and this latest iteration is no exception with perhaps the most glaring—and frankly disturbing—example being a new "trend" promoted by several different designers: "homeless style."

Several runway shows this year featured looks that were inspired by the homeless, including that of Daisuke Obana's N. Hoolywood. Showgoers at N. Hoolywood received notes before the presentation, which explained Obana's inspiration, saying:

As our designer traveled the cities of America, he witnessed the various ways in which people there lived on the streets and the knowledge they have acquired while doing so. His observations of these so-called homeless or street people revealed that them [sic] to be full of clever ideas for covering the necessities of life. Space blankets or moving blankets can be fashioned into coats for cold days, and plastic bags can double as waterproof boots when it rains. This season features designs that embrace their unique style of combining traditionally contrasting elements, such as unconventional layering or senses of color, along with experimental sizing.

And indeed Obana's interpretation of "homeless style" was incredibly literal—there were actually plastic bags incorporated into his looks. It was an incomprehensible lapse in judgment when it comes to what amounts to the fetishization of an already marginalized group of people. That this country's homeless population has an incredibly high corresponding existence of mental illness makes the choice to commodify their lifestyle all the more repugnant. Even if it is all well-intentioned, that's hardly an adequate rationale for the commercialization of disadvantaged people.

Of course, the fashion world is no stranger to this type of situation. Runway shows and their attendant inspiration are often fraught with cases of cultural appropriation, as with Marc Jacobs' "rave-inspired" dreadlock look from last NYFW, or gross insensitivity, like when Valentino staged an "Africa-inspired" show in 2015 or when Jean-Paul Gaultier showed a Hasidic Jew-inspired collection in 1993. And it's not only fashion designers; fashion media is also frequently and blatantly insensitive to other cultures, as recently seen with the Karlie Kloss geisha editorial in Vogue's March 2017 issue.

But repeated and obstinate blindness about problems like whitewashing and cultural appropriation can no longer be easily excused by simple apologies and promises to do better. We live in politically charged times right now, something of which some members of the fashion world are very much aware. (See: Mara Hoffman's powerfully feminist show this NYFW.) There is no doubt anymore that the fashionable is also political, if for no other reason that many in the fashion world enjoy the financial benefits of the partnership between political activism and consumerism and run stories about things like how to dress for protests and where to buy things that support good causes. Make no mistake: The editors sitting front row at these "homeless chic" shows are fully aware of how politically problematic this type of "inspiration" is, they just refuse to make a stand about it, and instead sit there silently.

But it's time for the fashion world to stop being silent about important issues like this; it's time for everyone to wake up and question what they think the price is of participating in the exploitation of oppressed and marginalized people and refuse to pay it. Maybe then, there won't be crowds of people turning out to applaud a parade of models styled like "street people," like so many extras from the set of Zoolander.

Screenshot via Youtube

While the song should serve as a reminder to your exes

Just a day after dropping new single "Nunya," featuring Dom Kennedy, Kehlani has released the winter-wonderland visuals to go along with. The singer, NYLON November cover star, and mother-to-be rocks some of the best winter 'fits I've seen in a while, including a glorious puffer jacket that could double as a down comforter that I absolutely need in my life right now.

Kehlani is clearly living her best life up in some snow-filled forest hideaway, vibing on the beach at sunset and sipping on something bubbly as she coolly reminds nosy exes that who she's with is "nunya business." There's not much of a story line (unlike her recent "Nights Like This" video); the main takeaway is that Kehlani is busy dancing through a forest, missing no one and chilling amongst people who are clearly not the subjects of the song.

Kehlani is only two short months away from bringing baby Adeya into the world, who she thanked for helping her get through the video process. "Shot that 7 months pregnant in da snow..." Kehlani wrote on Twitter, adding, "thank u baby for da motivation, mommy was FROZE."

Even from the womb, Adeya has been hustling hard alongside her momma. Twitter user @ODtheMC pointed out that this is already her second music video appearance, and she's not even been born.

Get some mulled wine ready and escape into Kehlani's winter getaway, below. Stay tuned for her forthcoming mixtape, While We Wait, out on February 22.

Kehlani - Nunya (feat. Dom Kennedy) [Official Music Video] www.youtube.com

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Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images.

As in Black Panther Political Party leader

It's been a running joke that the Black parents/grandparents of millennials were really confused about all of the Black Panther hoopla ahead of its 2018 release. Many of them were anticipating a movie about members of the Black Panther Political Party and didn't know who the hell T'Challa was. Well, those people are about to have their moment, and we're about to have another one.

Variety is reporting that Fred Hampton, the Black Panther leader at the center of the upcoming biopic Jesus Was My Homeboy, could be played by none other than Daniel Kaluuya. Apparently, he is in negotiations for the role. And he's not the only Black Panther alum in the mix. The Warner Bros. project is being produced by Black Panther director, Ryan Coogler. The same article reports that the forever swoon-worthy Lakeith Stanfield—who appeared with Kaluuya in Jordan Peele's Get Out—is also in negotiations, to play William O'Neal, an FBI informant who infiltrated the Black Panther Party.

Coogler and Charles King are putting together a dream cast to tell a difficult story. Hampton was killed by the Chicago Police Department, while his pregnant girlfriend lay next to him, thanks in part to information they received from O'Neal. Whenever it's out, I strongly recommend having Black Panther queued up as a palate cleanser.

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